Return to Headlines

South Elgin High School Engine Teardown Team to Receive Accent on Achievement


Feb. 10, 2020 

The U-4 Board of Education Monday will honor the South Elgin High School Hot Rodders of Tomorrow engine teardown team, which finished 10th in the nation at a competition in December.

The team, sponsored by Jegs Performance Auto Parts, is led by South Elgin High automotive teacher Steve Schertz and coached by South Elgin 2016 alum LeeAnne Driscoll. Students on the team are senior Andrew Clark, senior Casey Gebala, senior Dan Godinez, senior Jared Pena, junior Hayden Shaw, and junior Omar Quiroz.

When the teardown competition season started in May 2019, there were about 300 teams in the mix, Schertz said. The South Elgin team qualified for a spot in the national competition with an average engine teardown time of 26 minutes in November at the SEMA trade event in Las Vegas, then advanced to the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis in December.

“It was due to the team’s sacrifices that they earned that position. It was giving up time to work, time with friends, time to hang out,” Schertz said, because ultimately engine teardown is a “team-building exercise” that demands practice time.

 “There is lots of communication, lots of trusting each other. It’s choreographed almost like a dance. If someone isn’t doing their part, or is out of position, the whole team comes to a crashing halt,” he said.

One of the seniors on the team, Casey Gebala, who is in Schertz’s automotive service class, said she wants to pursue a career in automotive design after high school. She said she liked the challenge and what she termed the “good stress” of trying to improve on the team’s engine teardown time, but she also welcomed the “companionship and support” she found during the season. 

“We all pushed each other to do better than what we expected,” she said. “If we started to think down about ourselves, someone on the team would help pick us up.”

The Accent on Achievement certificates will be presented to the students at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10 in room 140 of the Educational Services Center. The U-46 Board of Education meetings are always open to the public and they stream live on YouTube.